Medicinal Effects of Horseradish
Horseradish is commonly eaten as an accompaniment to red meat dishes specially steak. It is supposed to have quite a number of uses and is considered to be beneficial to health. Historically too, it has its significance being one of the five bitter herbs of Passover.
Health Benefits- The early settlers used Horseradish for providing relief during the intense pain of sciatica. The after birth or placenta could be easily expelled with the aid of horseradish. Taking horseradish orally can relieve colic, increase frequency of urination as well as help in eradicating the intestinal worms. The mustard content of horse radish can stimulate the flow of blood causing the tissue and joint inflammation to abate. The glucosinolate together with the mustard oil gives the characteristic pungency to the horseradish and can help in relieving the congestion of the respiratory tract. Both gram positive as well as gram negative bacterial infection can be treated successfully by horseradish.
Dietary Uses- Horseradish is used widely as a flavoring agent and in salad dishes. It is available both as fresh or dried root. Medicinal preparations of Horseradish include the root in ointment or tincture form.
Administration- 6 to 20 g of the root can be taken orally every day as medicine. Ointments normally contain 2% of the mustard oil extracted from the pressed root of the horse radish and is used for local application.
Side Effects- Excessive or faulty administration of the root may cause inflammation of mucous membranes and stomach aches. Decreased thyroid activity, skin irritation or blistering may also be seen as a side effect of horseradish. Patients suffering from kidney inflammation are advised to avoid eating the root. The diuretic effect of horseradish may worsen the condition. Horseradish is unsuitable for consumption by infants below four years of age. Pregnant women should also exercise caution while eating horseradish as the mustard oil present in the root may prove to be toxic.